After the FDA did their homework, they came to the conclusion that iPods probably won’t interfere with pacemakers. After a scare when a high school student said he detected electrical interference, the agency may not have thought much of it, but just to be sure…
Several models’ magnetic fields were used in the test with a saline bag substituting for a human body along with the voltage delivered inside of the pacemaker by iPods. While the results of the testing is great news for music fans, if you have a pacemaker, remember to keep away from those microwave ovens.
Read More | Far East Gizmos
We understand assembly lines pumping out electronic gadgets at unholy speeds so that the masses can have their toys. But when the FDA announced that cloned beef is acceptable to eat once the USDA has determined that we are “used to the idea,” we just had to wonder. Whatever happened to natural foods? We are still getting accustomed to the hormones injected into our meat that causes puberty in children a few years earlier than seems natural. Genetically altered grain runs rampant. But do we really want to eat a poor animal who has been created solely through scientific means? Should that be considered organic? What do you guys think?
Read More | Washington Post
While at CES, we got the opportunity to check out the AMD Smart House. The Smart House is a demonstration by AMD of all the different ways that their processors can help enhance day-to-day life of every day consumers. The Mother/Father/Daughter/Sun schtick is a bit thick at times, but the potential of the smart home of the future shines through nonetheless.
Chan-Hui Lee and his team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology purport that someday we will be able to listen to music within a Personal Sound System that will not bother others standing outside it. Their prototype features 9 1/2-inch speakers arranged in a row. They found that there was a 20 decibel difference between the center and the outside, comparable to a regular conversation and a whisper. Lee foresees the technology being utilized eventually for cell phones and PDAs. We would just settle for using it on the neighbors’ backyard barbecues.
Read More | Live Science
This is another holiday-related story we couldn’t resist. Scientists in Israel have inscribed all of the Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible onto a silicon surface that is less than 0.01 square inch. It took them only an hour to etch all 300,000 words by blasting gallium particles at an object that rebounded and caused the effect. Ohad Zohar, adviser at Technion Institute foresees the technology as a means of storing large amounts of data on DNA and bio-molecules. We wonder if anyone will get the chance to proofread the book.
Read More | RBNI
If you have already had your post-Thanksgiving nap, you might be interested to know that the molecule tryptophan may have another use besides making you nod off. Researchers from Oxford University say that the chemical precursor to serotonin may also induce trust. Volunteers were given a drink that depleted their tryptophan. Although the final results are not in from the experiments, they found that when they reduced it, the chemical also lowered “the reward value of cooperating.” We just wonder why every family Thanksgiving feast we have ever attended has ended in a tussle.
(Happy Turkey Day!)
Read More | Technology Review
Have a future astronaut at home? Or maybe you just like the, um, “comfort” of a little extra moonlight in the room with you at night? Check out Moon In My Room, a remote controlled nightlight with a detailed lunarscape that displays 12 phases of the moon. The light sensor makes sure that there’s always a little moonlight around, and the three hanging angles make sure that your view is perfect. Included with your purchase are lunar phase calendar and an audio CD with a lesson in moon-ology and space. The lamp measures 10” in diameter and requires 4 AA and 2 AAA batteries (we’re guessing the AAAs are for the remote).
Researchers at University College in London have discovered that robots cannot detect optical illusions. The team installed software in bots to give them abilities for processing visual cues into an artificial nerve network. For example, in a simultaneous brightness contrast of two identical tiles, a human will see one tile with a dark background as lighter than one in front of a paler background. The program fooled the software just as it would a person. Lead study author R. Beau Lotto and team found that vision is composed of experiences rather than absolutes. We just think of it as a one-up on robots for us humans.
Read More | National Geographic
Masayuki Sumida and his team at Hiroshima University’s Institute for Amphibian Biology have developed a transparent frog. They say that being able to see past the skin can aid them in disease studies by watching the internal organs and blood vessels without the necessity of dissection. The creatures were created by mating two specimens of Japanese Brown Frogs with the mutation of pale skin. We just hope that the poor amphibians remember to put on their sunscreen before they go for an outside dip in the pond.
Read More | Pink Tentacle
If you missed out on your high school science fair and feel someone still owes you, you can now offer up your project on SciVee, a site that opened up this past weekend. Post papers and videos and be critiqued by your peers. There are also drop-down windows for data, references, comments, and a rating system. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation and SDSC’s Supercomputer Center, it will only consist of those who have been published by the Public Library of Science to begin with, but will expand to include others when the idea catches momentum.
Read More | SciVee
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